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House of Commons Hansard #104 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was children.

Topics

Montreal InternationalStatements By Members

November 21st, 1996 / 2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Nick Discepola Liberal Vaudreuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, on November 18, the secretary of state responsible for FORD-Q announced that the federal government would contribute $2 million to an initiative aimed at establishing a private company called Montreal International and providing it with $10 million in working capital.

These funds will enable the new company will be able to focus on promoting the greater Montreal area at the international level. It will, among other things, look for foreign investors and help set up head offices and international organizations in the greater Montreal area.

Montreal International will help create a climate that will promote job creation and enhance business activity significantly in Montreal. My congratulations to everyone involved.

Native PeoplesOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Roberval Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, after more than five years of hearings, including a two year extension under the present government, and $58 million of the public's money, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples has just tabled a voluminous report of over 4,000 pages on the situation of native peoples in Canada.

My question is for the minister of Indian affairs. Does he agree with the royal commission that the solution to aboriginal problems lies in a royal proclamation followed by a series of legislative measures by the federal government?

Native PeoplesOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Sault Ste. Marie Ontario

Liberal

Ron Irwin LiberalMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, the royal commission tabled a few hours ago a voluminous series of reports involving 440 recommendations, covering everything from housing to royal proclamations. It involves just about every ministry in the federal government and probably every minister of the provincial and territorial governments.

The royal proclamation is something that the premiers of the provinces, the Prime Minister and the First Nations will have to discuss. They will need time to read the report and come up with whatever recommendations they see fit.

Native PeoplesOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Roberval Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, since a good many aboriginal problems come under provincial jurisdiction, how does the minister of Indian affairs intend to proceed in order to respect this jurisdiction, bearing in mind the recommendations of the Dussault-Erasmus report with its extremely centralizing approach?

Native PeoplesOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Sault Ste. Marie Ontario

Liberal

Ron Irwin LiberalMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, the commissioners and the commission make it quite clear that on many aspects of the report it will need co-operation of the provinces and territories and the federal government.

There are only 89 recommendations where they say the federal government has the direct right to implementation. In the overwhelming majority, I think over 200, they are saying it will require consultation with the provinces, sometimes cities and sometimes territories.

Native PeoplesOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Roberval Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, my supplementary is for the Minister of Finance.

Can the Minister of Finance tell us whether the proposal in the Dussault-Erasmus report to increase the Indian Affairs budget by some $2 billion in order to solve aboriginal problems strikes him as acceptable and realistic?

Native PeoplesOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Sault Ste. Marie Ontario

Liberal

Ron Irwin LiberalMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, the absence of a response from the Minister of Finance is certainly acceptable to me.

Native PeoplesOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

Yes, well, if it is another short one like that I will allow it.

Native PeoplesOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Roberval Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, my supplementary is for the Minister of Finance.

Can the Minister of Finance tell us whether the proposal in the Dussault-Erasmus report to increase the Indian Affairs budget by some $2 billion in order to solve aboriginal problems strikes him as acceptable and realistic?

Native PeoplesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, pardon me, but I have such faith in my colleague, and he is so familiar with the numbers, that my attention was elsewhere. As my colleague has just said, the report is very interesting. We intend to examine it more closely and I will discuss it with my colleague, the minister of Indian affairs.

Native PeoplesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Indian Affairs.

Although the Bloc Quebecois is in favour of aboriginal self-government and the economic development of the aboriginal community, the creation of a third tier of government, as called for by the royal commission, strikes us as unrealistic.

Does the Minister of Indian Affairs share the conclusions of the royal commission, which proposes an aboriginal chamber within the Canadian Parliament?

Native PeoplesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Sault Ste. Marie Ontario

Liberal

Ron Irwin LiberalMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, that is a matter of evolution. I certainly feel that the AFN powers should be enhanced by First Nations people. We are certainly trying to deal in the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia with larger groupings. At some point that may evolve. How or where, it is too soon to say but there will be a separate chamber for aboriginal self-government in this country.

Native PeoplesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, I see that the minister is not only distancing himself from the report but also being extremely prudent with his answers.

Does the minister realize that the Dussault-Erasmus report proposal, in addition to creating some twenty new organizations on top of all the existing ones, will require an injection of more than $2 billion in public funds and accentuate one of the fundamental problems of Canadian federalism, namely the problem of costly and inefficient duplication and overlap?

Native PeoplesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Sault Ste. Marie Ontario

Liberal

Ron Irwin LiberalMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, the question is, will there be duplication or overlap? Who can say? I would prefer that there be less duplication and less overlap.

If we truly mean that we want aboriginal people to be self-sufficient and self-governing, then we have to trust them and let them do it. As the Prime Minister said when he had this job, we made a lot of mistakes on their behalf through the Indian agents. It is time for them to make a few mistakes on their own.

TobaccoOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Reform Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, what an embarrassing spectacle. We have had the health minister fighting with the finance minister. We have had the finance minister fighting with the Deputy Prime Minister. We have had the Liberal caucus and cabinet fighting with everybody. Meanwhile 30 per cent more teenagers in this country have started smoking and 45,000 Canadians this year will die because of Liberal inaction on tobacco.

Will the government call a truce in its family feud and bring in anti-tobacco legislation immediately?

TobaccoOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, we will bring in tobacco legislation and we will bring it in soon.

TobaccoOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Reform Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, while the Liberals have been fighting, Canadians have been dying.

The Reform caucus supports effective enforceable anti-tobacco legislation and we will bring that to a conclusion in one day if these rascals will bring it in. All we need is for the legislation to be on the table.

When, when, when will the government bring the legislation to the floor of the House of Commons so that Canadians will not have to die?

TobaccoOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, bientôt.

TobaccoOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Reform Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, the minister is real good at these cute little answers, but the issue is very, very specific. There is no excuse to justify the fact that the Liberals have let personality conflicts and political back stabbing nonsense come before the lives of 45,000 Canadians.

Shame on the health minister, shame on the finance minister and shame on that whole caucus for this behaviour. When will the government bring anti-tobacco legislation to the House of Commons? When?

TobaccoOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, 24 hours certainly makes a great difference as it relates to the Reform Party of Canada. Months ago the same hon. member, supported by his caucus colleagues, said that legislation was not necessary, that all that was required was education. Now we have a spectacle on the floor of the House Commons and the Reform Party is swallowing itself.

I say to the hon. member that we will bring forward the legislation as we promised and we will do so soon.

TobaccoOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre De Savoye Bloc Portneuf, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health as well.

The Minister of Health said a few weeks ago that we should vote for a party other than the Liberals if they failed to get their tobacco control legislation passed before the next election. So, yesterday once again, the minister put off the official announcement of the tobacco control measures he plans to propose.

How does the Minister of Health explain his last minute retreat? Could it have anything to do with the numerous leaks about a possible increase in the price of cigarettes, resulting in speculation in the tobacco market?

TobaccoOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I think the House would really like to know where the hon. member stands and in particular where the Bloc stands as it relates to tobacco legislation.

As I indicated yesterday both in the House and outside the House, we are in the process of finalizing our package. It will be comprehensive and we will bring it forward soon.

TobaccoOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre De Savoye Bloc Portneuf, QC

Mr. Speaker, we see a lot of smoke signals, but the message is unclear.

Does the minister realize that he struck out again, because he has very awkwardly placed the Minister of Finance in an absolutely untenable position? Does he realize that?

TobaccoOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I accept the premise of the hon. member's question that he is concerned about tobacco legislation. I would hope that the hon. member and members of the Bloc would support the government's initiative which is to reduce tobacco consumption particularly among youth which causes in this country and in the province of Quebec 11,000 deaths every year.

I look forward to and thank the hon. member for his support on the tobacco legislation.

TobaccoOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, the leak of the government's tobacco taxation measure is an extremely serious breach of parliamentary convention. When tax changes are leaked, insiders are given the ability to manipulate the stock market. In the past the Liberals have called for the resignation of other finance ministers over similar breaches. This is of particular concern when it is clear that the boards of directors of tobacco companies are interchangeable with the Liberal Party hierarchy.

Can the finance minister tell us why this tax measure was leaked, who leaked it, and what action he has taken to ensure that the financial integrity of the government is not compromised again?